As a single person, you always seem to have time for a good work out, but once you have a family, that time is gone. When you are single, you can take breaks and go to the gym, jog around the park, be a part of a sports team. But when you have a family, getting your spouse and kids to enjoy exercise can be a little trickier. As parents, it’s hard enough to get exercise on your own, but it’s virtually impossible to get the family to do exercise with you.
Although it is tougher, exercise is still critical for the health of your family. In fact, it’s important to teach young kids that exercise is a part of a daily routine and something that should be followed throughout life. If we as parents wish to create happy, healthy and disease-free adults, it’s time to find ways to exercise with them.
Kids Repeat What They See
When raising kids, you’ll find that they model our behavior. Their actions and attitudes are similar to our own, and if we want kids to exercise and eat well, we have to do the same. The following are a few ways to get your family active and out of the house. Most of these exercise methods don’t cost anything and you don’t have to join a gym or go to a special class to participate in these activities. But if there is an investment, well think of it this way. The one-time investment will lead to years of fun.
1. Pillow Fight
Kids love pillow fights and you can excite them about exercise by playing the game. Use pillows, or create alternative versions with Nerf guns, balls or anything that is soft. Create the rules and boundaries of the game. You can pick teams, a goal, a Nerf fort or anything else that you need. This exercise can be a game of a mixture of dodgeball, archery combat and capture flag. You get the exercise by making up the rules. Here are a few made-up rules to the game we made. Everyone chase each other with a pillow. If you get hit by all the pillows, the balls or the Nerf darts you’re out. The object is to get to the other team’s fort before your team is out. Once a person is out they have to do jumping jacks or push-ups until the next round.
2. Boot Camp
Hand out a blank piece of paper to each family member and have them write five of their favorite exercises. You should have about 20 exercises by the end of the writing session. These exercises can be dance moves, callisthenics, martial arts or anything physical that your family can do. Take the family for a walk, jog or run and every 60 seconds do one of the exercises for 30 seconds. By the end of the walk, you should have to 20-minute workout.
Go for a swim. Swimming is great exercise, especially if you combine play with laps. Of course, this may be a little more expensive. You may need to join a gym, but swimming laps is one of the best ways to get exercise. The kids will learn to swim, they’ll splash around and you can hold swimming contests. Of course, if your family is too large you might want to think about putting in a pool. yYs, this can be a large expense but keep in mind that you can finance swimming pools.
If you have a large enough yard, go out and teach your children to play baseball. This is a lot of fun and kids love to run whenever they hit the ball. Once they get good enough you can even enrol them in a little league team. Granted, you may not get a lot of exercise with them but at least they will. Of course, if you decide to coach the team you can always get your exercise by going with the team for a run around the baseball field.
Keeping kids in the house day in and day out may actually be harming them. We need to bring back the neighborhood fun. Get to know the neighbors and invite them to go out on walks, participate in your game or come swimming with you.